I’m Not Of Those Who Left…’ by Anna Akhmatova

I’m not of those who left their country

For wolves to tear it limb from limb.

Their flattery does not touch me.

I will not give my songs to them.


Yet I can take the exile’s part,

I pity all among the dead.

Wanderer, your path is dark,

Wormwood is the stranger’s bread.


But here in the flames, the stench,

The murk, where what remains

Of youth is dying, we don’t flinch

As the blows strike us, again and again.


And we know there’ll be a reckoning,

An account for every hour… There’s

Nobody simpler than us, or with

More pride, or fewer tears.


– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (1922)

– from Anno Domini MCMXXI translation by D. M. Thomas